TRANSCEND Seminar: Climate change transformation and adaptation in risk-sensitive urban development

University of Salford Manchester


There is an urgent need to transform current development practices that increase or create risks as well as sometimes promote unfair distribution of risks to vulnerable communities. Therefore, under the ESRC / GCRF funded TRANSCEND project we investigate building resilience and also promote social justice in considering risk sensitive urban development in developing countries.

As part of this project the aim of this seminar series is to showcase ongoing research and new initiatives in climate change mitigation and adaptation within the considerations of risk sensitive urban development.


The recent IPCC sixth assessment report indicates that climate change is occurring in every region and globally. It emphasises that there is still time to act but it must happen immediately, particularly those changes in systems that will significantly reduce and lead to sustained reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. Managing climate change has sometimes conflicting objectives that constitute its measures of mitigation and adaptation.

Climate change mitigation is focused on the drivers of climate change and is defined by the IPCC as “a human intervention to reduce the sources or enhance the sinks of greenhouse gases (GHGs). Climate change adaptation on the other hand seeks to reduce vulnerability and enhance coping capacity and is defined by the IPCC as “the process of adjustment to actual or expected climate and its effects” in human and/or natural systems (IPCC, 2014). Both climate change mitigation and adaptation require the assemblage of several skill sets, policy makers and practitioners working across several knowledge domains and geographic areas. Hence our TRANSCEND project takes a multidisciplinary approach in tackling climate change mitigation and adaptation.


Dr. Rasmus Benestad, The Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Norway: 'Learning from stress testing cities / regions with potential climatic hazards'

Rasmus is a Senior Scientist at the Norwegian Meteorological Institute and the author of several scientific books. He is a physicist by training and earned a D Phil in Physics from University of Oxford, a MS in Physics from New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, USA and BSc in Physics and Electronics from University of Manchester, UK. Some of his recent work includes local / regional climate and seasonal predictability. His work resonates in climate change adaptation, and he believes that there is a degree of urgency in our need to adapt to climate change and hence establish a robust system for providing climate related regional information for society. Hence it is important to take note that there are different approaches to producing local climate information known as ‘downscaling’. In his presentation he will take the Khulna case (Khulna is a city in Bangladesh subjected to climate change impacts) to demonstrate the stress testing idea for cities / regions with potential climatic hazards. It is important to ‘stress test’ potential new hazards in cities to predict damage, disruption, resettlement, and recovery options and to improve preparedness. He will also put this in context with two other approaches: the traditional 'linear method' and the bottom-up sensitivity testing. He will very briefly address the comprehensive description of their downscaling strategy.

Dr. Swenja Surminski, The London School of Economics: 'Climate change adaptation and the role of business and finance'

Swenja is Head of Adaptation Research at the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment, The London School of Economics and Political Science (LSE) and Chair of the Munich Climate Insurance Initiative (MCII- She oversees social science research projects on climate adaptation, Loss and Damage of climate change, and disaster risk finance with a geographic scope ranging from the UK to developing countries. Swenja’s research is investigating climate risk management and resilience strategies focusing on public policies, financial instruments and individual behaviour through a mix of inter-disciplinary approaches, integrating concepts from geography, climate science, economics and governance studies. She also led the Business and Industry chapter of the UK Climate Change Risk Assessment reports in 2017 and 2021. In her presentation, Swenja will address climate change adaptation and the role of business and finance.


Please note: all times are based on UK times. Please adjust to your local geographic time zone.

8:15 am: Registration and event open.

8:30 am: Welcoming the participants, Prof. Bingunath Ingirige, Centre for Disaster Resilience, School of Science Engineering and Environment, University of Salford, UK.

8:35 am: Opening Remarks, Prof. Terrence Fernando, Director of the THINKlab, University of Salford, UK.

8:40 am: Speaker 1 – Dr. Rasmus Benestad, The Norwegian Meteorological Institute, Norway: 'Learning from stress testing cities/regions with potential climatic hazards'.

9:15 am: Q&A Session 1.

9:30 am: Speaker 2 - Dr. Swenja Surminski, The London School of Economics, UK: 'Climate change adaptation and the role of business and finance'.

10:05 am: Q&A Session 2.

10:20 am: Closing Remarks, Dr. Sara Biscaya, School of Science Engineering and Environment, University of Salford, UK.

10:30 am: End of Session.

Please note: the event opens at 8.15 am and starts at 8:30 UK time. The event is online and the link will be sent before the event date.


8:15 - 10:30 a.m. (GMT)

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